Mitsubishi has taken the beloved name of its Eclipse and given it new life as a crossover. It’s okay to groan. The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has made its way to the North American market to compete with very hot compact SUVs including the Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox.
Is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross just another crossover/SUV? Is it another forgettable Mitsubishi vehicle? Let’s take a closer look.
For this review, Mitsubishi had a 2018 Eclipse Cross SE 1.5T S-AWC delivered to me for a test drive. It’s the top grade of the Eclipse Cross and has a starting MSRP of $26,395. To it, Mitsubishi added a tonneau cover ($190) and carpeted floor mats ($135) plus the $995 destination charge bringing the total cost of the car to $27,715.
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross exterior
The exterior of the Eclipse Cross looks a bit like the lovechild of the Pontiac Aztek and the Mitsubishi Outlander. It has the signature grille of the modern Mitsubishi SUV line but its back-end deviates from the norm and veers into the lane of the late, (some say) great Pontiac Aztek. Visibility out the back isn’t terrible but I’m no fan of the split-glass hatchback. A bulging beltline makes the Eclipse Cross appear as if it has hit the buffet line a few too many times lately without giving in and going up a pant size.
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross performance
Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to an eight-speed continuously variable transmission. The model achieves 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The base model 2019 Chevrolet Equinox has the same size engine, but the Mitsubishi offers substantially less power.
The Eclipse Cross is no quick off the line, but not unreasonably slow. Once you’re up to speed, it’s a totally different story. You can easily take the SUV to 80 and 90 mph without feeling any strain on the powertrain. Switching the vehicle into Sport mode doesn’t make its drive particularly sporty but pushing the Eco mode is frustratingly restricting.
Thanks to the car’s four-wheel drive, the handing of the Eclipse Cross is easy on your arms. It goes right where you want it, when you want it. The model sticks to the lane you put it in on the highway and turning doesn’t create a lot of body lean. The centrally located A-SWC button lets you choose between Normal, Snow, and Gravel modes.
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross interior
The interior of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross isn’t as nice as some of the high trim level vehicles in its class, but its cost is several thousands less than those models. If you compare it to a mid grade version of those vehicles, it’s similar. However, it has the worst new car smell scent that I’ve ever encountered.
Both rows of Eclipse Cross feature generally comfortable seating. Sitting for a few hours at a time in the driver’s seat delivered me no thoughts of needing to get out to stretch. Four adults can comfortable sit in the car though taller adults might feel restricted in the second row.
Besides the smell, the only other huge turnoff for me in the Eclipse Cross is its infotainment system. On the surface, a 7-inch touch screen seems hard to screw up but Mitsubishi has managed to cram all the infotainment information you need into one screen in such a way you just want to throw your hands up and say a phrase that begins with, “what in the ever-loving…” and ends with, “were they thinking,” for anyone around to hear.
They’ve added to the issue by installing a track pad that can control the screen next to the shifter. The duplication is not necessary and can be made better by adding volume and tuning knobs to the side of the screen. It’s a lesson Honda had to learn when they went all-in on touch screen controls and now it seems that Mitsubishi needs to as well.
(Editor’s note: The Eclipse Cross is available with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, which in our experience helps some with making the system serviceable.)
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross cargo
You’re not going to be able to pack as much into the cargo area as you would be able to inside, say the cavernous Honda CR-V. However, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has plenty of cargo space to make it a sold daily driver.
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross safety
One thing the Eclipse Cross does not have is an abundance of overwrought safety technology. Mitsubishi has kept it simple and it’s refreshing. What you may need, like blind spot monitoring, is there if you want to use it, but you won’t feel like you’re missing out on a true drive experience. Even the highest-end model has a package of optional safety technologies so you’re not forced to take tech you may not want just to get other desirable features.
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross final thoughts
The Eclipse Cross isn’t the greatest Mitsubishi ever and it’s not the best compact SUV on the market. It’s a valiant engineering and design effort that, on its face, is just as good as much of its competition, aside from its infotainment system. Where then the Eclipse Cross must compete is on price, and it does.